Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

A View from Brad King

Wireless Quantum Crypto Network Unveiled

BBN announced yesterday that it was deploying the first wireless quantum cryptography network in Boston, enabling “keys or communications to be transmitted securely through the air as well as through its existing fiber-based network under the streets of Cambridge, Mass.,”…

  • June 2, 2005

BBN announced yesterday that it was deploying the first wireless quantum cryptography network in Boston, enabling “keys or communications to be transmitted securely through the air as well as through its existing fiber-based network under the streets of Cambridge, Mass.,” according to this press release.

I bring this up because I’m editing a Web story on quantum cryptography, a subject that has fascinated me since I picked up Steven Levy’s book, Crypto, back in 2001.

It should come as little surprise, though, that the intricacies oftentimes sail above my head, particularly when the math is laid out before me. I can intellectually understand it, but certainly the fine points are beyond my grasp.

(As a side note: The topic got even more interesting for me after I had the opportunity to have conversations with some of the leading crypto experts in the field back in 2002 when I was doing a series of stories for Wired News. What struck me as interesting was that some of those people said if they’d have known that their work would be used for draconian Digital Rights Management schemes, they would have never gotten involved with cryptography.)

From my Wired News interview with Bruce Schneier in October 2002:

“We always thought about cryptography as being a tool to protect the little guy versus the big guy,” said Schneier. “It never occurred to us that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act would get passed.”

What strikes me about the story we are working on – and yesterday’s announcement – is wondering whether we will be revisiting the crypto issues that bubbled up under the Clinton administration, as military-grade cryptography made its way into the mainstream.

Are we headed for a Quantum Clipper Chip issue? If we are (and we are), I wonder if the outcome won’t be different this time.

The Clipper Chip was, thankfully, a forgotten experiment, but we live in a different time now, when the fear of terrorism on our shores has allowed Americans to easily turn over their civil liberties to the government in exchange for the promise of being kept safe (see: The Patriot Act).

**UPDATE 5:07, June 2**

It’s been pointed out that my logic is a bit fuzzy on this topic (normally I would argue about this, but with this topic, I have no defense. My logic is indeed fuzzy). TR wrote two stories about quantum crypto:

This article from February 2003.

This article from April 2005.

These will, I understand, clear up any confusion I’ve created.

Be the leader your company needs. Implement ethical AI.
Join us at EmTech Digital 2019.

Register now
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Print Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.